The recent Walker recall election result and the reactions from various commenters indicates a clear need to repair our understanding of how our democracy works and what we need to do to fix it.
First, we need to revisit exactly what the Democratic Party is and what the Republican Party is. So:
Democrats are mostly people from the lower rungs of our economic ladder along with people with the highest IQs who may or may not be rich, like Paul Krugman (not rich) and George Soros (pretty seriously rich). This necessarily includes many minority groups who also may or may not be rich, like black people (not rich) and Jews (rich, mostly, with a sprinkling of poor teachers and such). Union members also tend to be Democrats, which is important, because unions are the Democratic Party’s version of SuperPacs. Individual union members are not generally rich (unless they are retired public service union members, for reasons still not well understood). Democrats, as their name suggests, are for democracy and the rule of the people. They also support saving our planet, equal opportunity, a strong safety net for the poor and the unhealthy, fairness, tolerance and moving our country forward.
Republicans are almost invariably either rich people or people with very low IQs who are usually not very rich. This latter group includes rednecks, bigots, survivalists, and many people unable to enjoy the benefits of living in our nation’s coastal regions. (They do not have beaches, and can only get frozen sushi.) Republicans usually carry guns (where permitted) and are prone to violence. The social policy stance of the Republican party can seem puzzling to people outside the US, as they have none. Republicans believe that only the poor should pay taxes, that poor children should remain uneducated and should live in ghettos, and that the government should restrict itself to building highways and fighting wars against Muslims. They also favor global warming and pollution, species extinction, converting wilderness into oil fields, sexual and racial discrimination and harassment and moving the country backwards (into a medieval state, with feudal lords and serfs, if possible).
Now, this raises an obvious question. Why are there so many Republicans?
The answer lies in the Supreme Court, which has determined that a very small number of rich people are to be allowed to spend vast amounts of the money they have wrung from the bleeding lips of the poor to buy advertisements in the media. These advertisements employ clever arguments and catchy phrases like “A government big enough to give you all you want is also big enough to take all you have” to brainwash the stupid people who live between the coasts.
This is what just happened in Wisconsin, which, unsurprisingly, is many hundreds of miles distant from both the Atlantic and the Pacific. There, a Republican governor who shamefully moved to deprive public services unions of their right to bargain as one group was compelled to run again for office prior to the expiration of his elected term. Republicans in Wisconsin asserted that the wonderful benefits that unions have obtained for their members, including the convenience of having their union dues deducted automatically from their paychecks, were evidence that unrestricted collective bargaining by essential service providers like teachers, police and firemen gave unions too much of an advantage in negotiating wages and pensions. And indeed, when left to their own devices, union members forgot to pay their union dues, resulting a 50% drop in union membership across the board.
Outraged, the citizens of Wisconsin determined that Governor Walker had achieved his office under false pretenses, and turned out by the hundreds to sign the petition that compelled yesterday’s recall election. But the result stunned the nation. Governor Walker was re-elected by a wider margin than he obtained in the original election that put him in office. So how did Governor Walker gain a victory of such impressive dimension?
Two Republicans named Koch spent millions of dollars in Wisconsin to buy this election — that’s how. The Koch brothers do not live in Wisconsin. They do not vote in Wisconsin. So why were they allowed to spend millions buying votes in Wisconsin? Because Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court said they could. If this seems unfair to you, you are not alone.
Some have argued that rich Republicans have an unfair advantage in our electoral system because their spending is not restricted. To be fair, others have pointed out that labor unions also spend very large sums of their members’ money to influence election, but labor unions comprise many, many people, and clearly should be allowed to spend what they please. But to expect Republicans to voluntarily observe normal standards of decency and restraint may be unrealistic. Recently, insight into the Republican mind was provided by a Nobel laureate, the aforementioned very high IQ Paul Krugman, writing in the New York Times, widely regarded as “the paper of record,” meaning that if you read it in the Times, you can accept it as fact. Here is what Professor Krugman had to say:
“[Republicans] are willing to snatch food from the mouths of babes (literally, via cuts in crucial nutritional aid programs), but that’s a positive from their point of view….”
There you have it. Literally snatching food from babies. Some may admire Democrats for their restraint in refraining from beating Republicans with staves, but I’m giving them fair warning: if you try to snatch the food from my children’s mouths, you’re going to get a damn good hiding. And that’s just for starters.